Green Beans in Parmesan Sauce with Bacon

150g/ 5oz bacon, chopped (use streaky, not lean)
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
500g/1lb green beans, trimmed, cut into ~5cm / 2″ pieces
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock / broth, low sodium
1 cup cream, heavy/thickened (Note 1)
1/2 cup parmesan, finely grated (best to grate your own)
Black pepper, freshly ground

Place bacon in cold skillet, then turn the stove on high. (Note 2)
Cook bacon for 2 to 3 minutes until golden, then remove with a slotted spoon.
Discard excess bacon fat, leaving behind 1 1/2 tablespoons (or so). If you’re short, add a dab of butter (or olive oil).

Add garlic and stir for 10 – 15 seconds until light golden.

Add green beans and stir to coat in garlicky bacon fat.

Add chicken stock, stir, bring to simmer then cover with lid. (Note 3) Cook 3 minutes, stirring every now and then so it cooks evenly, until beans are tender-crisp, still bright green and almost cooked to your liking (it will cook more). There should be some liquid left (if not, that’s ok too)

Add cream, parmesan and pepper. Stir, bring to simmer then lower heat to medium low and let it gently simmer for 2 minutes until the cream reduces and becomes thicker. If you want it to stick to the beans thickly when warm, then reduce the sauce for another 1 minute until the sauce is quite thick. (Note 4)

Taste and add salt if needed (I don’t find it needs more).

Transfer to serving bowl, sprinkle with cooked bacon and extra parmesan if you like.

Notes:

1. Lower fat alternatives – evaporated milk or light cream. If sauce is too thin for your taste at the end, then dissolve 1 teaspoon cornflour/cornstarch in 2 tsp water and stir that in.

2. Bacon into cold pan – bacon fat renders out better (ie melts) if you start with a cold pan because the fat starts to melt as the skillet heats up. This means you don’t need any extra fat to cook the bacon. In contrast, if you use a preheated skillet, you will need a bit of fat so the bacon doesn’t stick when you first add it (bacon fat does get released, it just works better starting with cold pan).

3. Pan lid – pictured lid in video isn’t made for the skillet used. Just use any lid around the size of the skillet, doesn’t matter if some steam escapes. More suggestions: baking tray, foil.

4. Sauce thickness – it gets thicker once it cools a bit. I like the sauce to be syrupy so it doesn’t stick to the beans thickly which I find a bit too rich for my taste. But if you want the sauce to coat the beans thoroughly, just simmer the cream sauce for another 1 – 2 minutes. You can make it so thick that the beans are literally completely covered in the sauce.

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